European settlers — primarily Dutch and English farmers — found much to like in the plains of Pompton when they arrived in the early 1700s.
When it was incorporated in 1740, Pequannock Township was the largest township in Morris County. Its 176 square miles stretched from present-day Jefferson Twp to Boonton. Various towns split off over time, as typically happens as areas become more heavily populated and the outlying areas demand more services, schools, and such for their tax dollars. Today Pequannock Township — encompassing Pequannock and Pompton Plains — is just 6.8 square miles.
To quote town historian Ed Engelbart,
It has within its confines one of the remaining historic turnpikes (called Newark-Pompton Turnpike) built out of the City of Newark between 1806 and 1811; remains of a long extinct glacial lake, ‘Lake Passaic;’ wooded walking paths overlooking a feeder dam of the 1827 Morris Canal – an engineering marvel of its day; rivers for fishing and canoeing; a mountain that enable hikers to see New York City skyline on a clear day; the 1771 First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains with its striking Christopher Wren-style steeple, along with a historic church cemetery containing the graves of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veterans, and 75 Civil War veterans, including a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor and a Brigadier General; an early 19th-century general store; and many privately owned historic homes dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
Pequannock takes its history seriously, with many historic homes and other structures to be proud of. The most recent acquisition is the Martin Berry House, built in 1720 by one of the Dutch settlers who fell in love with the area and its fertile farmland.
My connection: I grew up here, along with my family, including two brothers. I moved out in time, but never really left home. I visited my parents often, until they had both passed. Along the way, I joined (and helped found) the Pequannock Township Historical Society. I swear, I’m in town more often now than I was for decades previous.
Want to know more about Pequannock Township? See the blog.